Is war worthwhile? Can justice compensate for all the blood and tears shed during a revolution? Helen Maria Williams addresses this question in two series of letters: “Letters written in France” and “Letters from France.” However similar in title, “Letters written in France” describes the excitement of being caught up in a revolt, while “Letters from France” compares all that is lost to that which is gained. This difference in tone is important because it shows how regret may follow impulsive actions. Furthermore, Williams expresses how the passage of time tempers passion, but does not assuage loss of human life.
“Letters in France” begins with a quick paced procession through the streets of France, to an amphitheatre known as Champ de Mars. The narrator describes a parade that greatly impedes upon daily life and has a monopoly of everyone’s attention. “People ran to the doors of their houses with refreshments, which they offered to the troops.” Everyone showed their gratefulness in every way imaginable. There was praying, weeping, cheering, shouting, kneeling—the whole town is set into motion with excitement. Williams used vivid and colorful imagery to add luster to the procession. She describes fl
" Though these men have taken action against the monarchy, they shall never fully experience the benefits of that which they toiled, even murdered, for. " Williams paints a scene overflowing with the enthusiasm of the French citizens. ""Had I not reached Paris at the moment I did reach it, I should have missed the most sublime spectacle which, perhaps, was ever represented on the theatre of this earth. Wiliams continues, stating that indeed a revolution was essential; however, evil swiftly corrupted man"tms pure intentions of an overall better life for all people. Revenge is equally appealing to the oppressed. This is especially remarkable, since it is only three years in between them. This chore of restitution is one that will outlive the immediate generation, and will face future citizens. " This states that though the dirty work is done, it will be hard to overcome the emotional damages endured by persons directly involved in the revolution. May no such strong contrast of light and shade again exist in the political system of France!" The royal court is compared to lightening destructive, irrational, unpredictable, frightening, yet undeniably powerful. This revolt has a foundation of many supporters. The possibility of regret was far from their minds when they viciously abducted the kking from his family and publicly executed him. Such bloody imagery offers the audience the idea that their cause was tainted and its means impure. Perhaps Willaims most clearly states her doubt in the following passage: "When I said that the French revolution began in wisdom, I admitted that it came afterwards into the hands of fools. Williams continues by condemning the royal court. She does not regret the outcome of the revolution, rather the means by which it was executed.